The List That Trumps All Other Lists – The Top 50 Songs Ever

Yeah, yeah. There are lots of list of the best songs. But this list is different. Why? Because we actually did the research. The list isn’t based on some guy’s opinion. We compared the major lists of best songs and compiled the data and used real formulas. We took the top lists from Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Top Tens, Top 40 Weekly, the Top 50 Most Iconic Songs, and UK Official Charts.

That’s right, this list is scientific. So here you go, the actual top 50 songs ever recorded. Oh, and we found rare photos of the artists to make it more fun.

We recommend staying until the end to listen to our playlist based on all these top 50 songs. Enjoy!

50. A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke


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Released in 1964, “A Change Is Gonna Come” was inspired by personal events in Cooke’s life, mainly an event in which he and his entourage were turned away from a whites-only motel in Louisiana. Cooke felt compelled to write a song that reflected his struggle and of those around him. The song contains the refrain, “It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.” Clearly, Cooke was hopeful.

49. Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks


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“Waterloo Sunset” is the band’s best known and most acclaimed songs. It came out in 1967 and is highly respected for its musical and lyrical qualities. The song is commonly the subject of study in university arts courses. Ray Davies dismisses such praise and has even suggested that he would like to go back and alter some of the lyrics.

48. My Generation – The Who


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The song was released in 1965 and is easily one of The Who’s most recognizable songs. It’s been said to have “encapsulated the angst of being a teenager,” and has been characterized as a “nod to the Mod counterculture.” Pete Townshend wrote it on a train ride from London to Southampton in 1965, on his 20th birthday. He explained: “‘My Generation’ was very much about trying to find a place in society. I was very, very lost. The band was young then. It was believed that its career would be incredibly brief.”

47. What’d I Say, Parts 1 & 2 – Ray Charles


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Released in 1959, it was one of the first soul songs. The composition was improvised one evening late in 1958 when Charles, his orchestra, and backup singers were playing their entire set list at a show and still had time left. The response from the audiences was so enthusiastic that Charles announced to his producer that he was going to record it.

46. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor


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The song came out in 1982 and gained tremendous MTV and radio airplay and topped charts worldwide during that year. It was the theme song for the film Rocky III, which was released a day before the single. The song was recorded at the request of Rocky III star, writer, and director Sylvester Stallone, after Queen denied him permission to use “Another One Bites the Dust”, the song Stallone intended as the Rocky III theme.

45. Be My Baby – The Ronettes


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“Be My Baby” was recorded in 1963 and was considered one of the best songs of the 1960s by NME, Time, and Pitchfork. Barbara Cane, vice president, and general manager of writer-publisher relations for the songwriters’ agency BMI estimated that the song has been played in 3.9 million feature presentations on radio and television since 1963. “That means it’s been played for the equivalent of 17 years back to back.”

44. Light My Fire – The Doors


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The song was released in 1967. Most of the song was written by the band’s guitarist, Robby Krieger, who wanted to write about one of the elements: fire, air, earth, and water. He said: “I was living with my parents in Pacific Palisades – I had my amp and SG. I asked Jim, what should I write about? He said, ‘Something universal, which won’t disappear two years from now. Something that people can interpret themselves.’ I said to myself I’d write about the four elements; earth, air, fire, water, I picked fire, as I loved the Stones song, ‘Play With Fire,’ and that’s how that came about.”

43. Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix


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“Purple Haze” came out in 1967 and it was many people’s first exposure to Hendrix’s psychedelic rock sound. Hendrix described it as a love song. He said: “I dream a lot and I put my dreams down as songs. “The Purple Haze” was about a dream I had that I was walking under the sea.”

42. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston


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Whitney Houston’s 1992 version of the song was originally written and recorded in 1973 by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton. Houston’s version was recorded for the movie The Bodyguard. Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” re-entered the charts in 2012 after her death.

41. Layla – Derek and the Dominos


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The song was recorded in 1970 and was written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon. The song was inspired by a love story that originated in 7th-century Arabia. The story captivated Clapton profoundly because it was the tale of a young man who fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful, young girl and went crazy and so could not marry her. The song even more so inspired by Clapton’s then unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend and fellow musician George Harrison of the Beatles. Clapton and Boyd eventually got married.

40. London Calling – The Clash


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The Clash’s single came out in 1979. The apocalyptic song was written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones. The title refers to the BBC World Service’s station identification: “This is London calling …” which was used during World War II often in broadcasts to occupied countries. The song fades out with a Morse code signal spelling S-O-S.

39. Happy – Pharrell Williams


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“Happy” was released in 2013. It’s not only on his own album but also on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. It was the most successful song of 2014, with 13.9 million units sold worldwide. It has been praised for being “unbelievably catchy” and “the kind of song that makes you want to dance and sing along.”

38. Macarena – Los Del Rio


Photo by SWR

The Spanish dance song was released in 1993. The song is about a woman who cheats on her boyfriend while he is being drafted into the army. It spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart which means it’s one of the longest-running atop the Hot 100 chart in history.

37. Every Breath You Take – The Police


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The Police’s hit single came out in 1983 and the song is considered to be both the Police’s and Sting’s signature song. In 2010, it was estimated to generate between a quarter and a third of Sting’s music publishing income. Sting wrote the song in 1982 in the aftermath of his separation from Frances Tomelty and the beginning of his relationship with Trudie Styler.

36. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen


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In 1974, the song was Bruce Springsteen’s final attempt to become successful. The prior year, Springsteen had released two albums but with little commercial movement. In recording the song, Springsteen earned his reputation for perfectionism, laying down as many as eleven guitar tracks to get the sound just right.

35. Rivers of Babylon – Boney M


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Boney M’s version of the song came out in 1878. The original is a Rastafari song written and recorded by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton of the Jamaican reggae group The Melodians in 1970. The song was popularized in Europe with Boney M’s version.

34. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd


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“Comfortably Numb” was out in 1980. Roger Waters wrote the lyrics. Many people thought the song was about drugs, but Waters claimed that it wasn’t. The lyrics are about what he felt like as a child when he was sick with a fever. He said that the lines: “When I was a child I had a fever/My hands felt just like two balloons” were autobiographical. He explained: “I remember having the flu or something, an infection with a temperature of 105 and being delirious. It wasn’t like the hands looked like balloons, but they looked way too big, frightening.”

33. Sweet Child O’Mine – Guns N’ Roses


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The song was released in 1988. Although the song is a classic, not all band members want to hear it anymore. Guitarist Slash said in 1990, “[The song] turned into a huge hit and now it makes me sick. I mean, I like it, but I hate what it represents.” The song was created during a jam session at the band’s house in the Sunset Strip.

32. I Want to Hold Your Hand – The Beatles


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The song was written by both John Lennon and Paul McCartney and released in 1963. They were told to write a song for the American market. McCartney said of the composition: “Eyeball to eyeball is a very good description of it. That’s exactly how it was. ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ was very co-written. It was our big number one; the one that would eventually break us in America.”

31. Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood


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The song came out in 1983 and became one of the most controversial and most commercially successful records of the decade. Because of the lyrics, BBC banned the song from radio and TV. Singer Holly Johnson claimed that the words of the song came to him as he was walking down Princess Avenue in Liverpool.

30. Slide – Goo Goo Dolls


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“Slide” was released in 1998. Johnny Rzeznik, the lead singer and guitarist, said this before performing it on VH1 Storytellers: “The song is actually about these two teenage kids, and the girlfriend gets pregnant, and they’re trying to decide whether she should get an abortion, or they should get married or what should go on…”

29. One – Metallica


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“One” came out in 1988. Written by band members James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, “One” is an anti-war song that portrays a World War I soldier who is severely wounded, begging God to take his life as he feels constant pain. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, which was the first ever win in that category.

28. Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock


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The song by duo LMFAO was released in 2011. Worldwide, it was the third best-selling digital single of 2011 with sales of 9.7 million copies. It’s also the third best-selling digital song in US history. The video is a parody of the 2002 horror film 28 Days Later.

27. I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas


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The Black Eyed Peas’ hit single was produced by French DJ David Guetta and released in 2009. The song was written and composed by all the members of the group. Will.I.Am said, “Times are really hard for a lot of people and you want to give them escape and you want to make them feel good about life, especially at these low points.”

26. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry


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The classic rock-n-roll song was written by Berry in 1955. It’s about an illiterate “country boy” from the New Orleans area, who plays the guitar. Berry acknowledged that the song is partly autobiographical and that the original lyrics referred to Johnny as a “colored boy”, but he changed it to “country boy” to make sure it would get radio play.

25. You’re the One That I Want – John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John


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The song was created for the 1978 movie Grease. It is one of the best-selling singles in history, selling over 6 million copies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France alone, with estimates of more than 15 million copies sold overall.

24. Daydream Believer – The Monkees


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The song was released in 1967. Songwriter John Stewart had written the song about one half of a couple staring into a mirror and realizing that his marriage has lost its magic. The single reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1967, staying there for four weeks, and peaked at No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart. It was the Monkees’ last No. 1 hit in the U.S.

23. How Do I Live – Leann Rimes


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Leann Rimes’ famous song was recorded in 1997 and it was written by Diane Warren. According to Rimes, Warren wrote the song specifically with her in mind, promising it to her. It was originally intended for release as a single for the 1997 action blockbuster Con Air soundtrack.

22. Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys


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The song came out in 1966. The title was derived from Brian Wilson’s fascination with cosmic vibrations, as his mother would tell him as a child that dogs sometimes bark at people in response to their “bad vibrations.” It was the costliest single ever recorded at the time of its release.

21. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson


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“Billie Jean” was released in 1983. Michael Jackson performed “Billie Jean” on the TV special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever in May 1983. The performance introduced a number of Jackson’s signatures, including the moonwalk and white sequined glove, and was widely imitated. The “Billie Jean” music video, was the first video by a black artist to be aired in heavy rotation on MTV.

20. Mull of Kintyre – Wings


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The song was written by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine. The song was written in tribute to the picturesque Kintyre peninsula in Scotland, the Mull of Kintyre, where McCartney has owned High Park Farm since 1966. This song may not be as famous as the other obvious ones, but the reason this song is on the list and even placed at #20 is because it ranked as #4 on UK’s Official Charts.

19. Yesterday – The Beatles


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“Yesterday” came out in 1965. According to biographers of McCartney and the Beatles, McCartney composed the entire melody in a dream one night in his room at the Wimpole Street home of his then girlfriend Jane Asher. When he woke up, he ran to a piano and played the tune to avoid forgetting it.

18. September – Earth, Wind & Fire


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The funk band released the single in 1978. Allee Willis, a band member, was originally bothered by the gibberish “ba-dee-ya” lyric that Maurice White used through the song and begged him to rewrite it. He said, “I just said what does ‘ba-dee-ya’ mean?’ And he essentially said, ‘Who cares?’ I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyrics get in the way of the groove.”

17. Mack The Knife – Bobby Darin


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The song was written in 1928 for the German play The Threepenny Opera. Darin decided to perform this song when he saw a production of The Threepenny Opera in Greenwich Village in 1958. The song was released in 1960 and it became a swing classic.

16. Uptown Funk! – Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars


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“Uptown Funk!” came out in 2014 and was a worldwide phenomenon, having a major impact on pop culture. Sounding very similar to popular 80s music, there were Copyright controversies after the song’s release, with multiple lawsuits and amendments to its songwriting credits.

15. Do They Know it’s Christmas? – Band-Aid


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This song was made in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure after seeing all the television reports of the 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia. Band-Aid is a charity supergroup featuring mainly British and Irish musicians and recording artists. The record became the fastest selling single in UK chart history, selling a million copies in the first week alone and passing 3 million on the last day of 1984.

14. Hotel California – Eagles


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The single was released in 1977. It’s considered the most famous recording by the band, and its long guitar coda has been voted the best guitar solo of all time by readers of Guitarist. The band decided on the theme of “Hotel California” because The Beverly Hills Hotel had become a literal and symbolic focal point of their lives at that time. Don Henley said: “We were getting an extensive education, in life, in love, in business. Beverly Hills was still a mythical place for us. In that sense, it became something of a symbol, and the ‘Hotel’ the locus of all that LA had come to mean for us. In a sentence, I’d sum it up as the end of the innocence, round one.”

13. One – U2


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U2 recorded “One” in 1991. The lyrics, written by lead singer Bono, were inspired by the band members’ fractured relationships. The song brought the band back together. Bono improvised some lyrics which were inspired by a recent invitation from the Dalai Lama, who’d invited the group to attend a festival called ‘Oneness’.

12. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye


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“What’s Going on” was released in 1971. The song was originally inspired by a police brutality incident witnessed by Renaldo “Obie” Benson. It was composed by Benson, Al Cleveland, and Gaye and produced by Gaye himself. The song marked Gaye’s departure from the Motown Sound record label towards more personal material.

11. Smooth – Santana Featuring Rob Thomas


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The song was released in 1999. It was a collaboration between Latin rock band Santana and Rob Thomas, the vocalist for the rock band Matchbox Twenty. The song won three Grammy awards. Thomas wrote “Smooth” for his wife, Marisol Maldonado. He stated in interviews that the lyric “My Spanish Harlem Mona Lisa” was inspired by the 1972 Elton John song “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.”

10. Respect – Aretha Franklin


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Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” is a 1967 cover of Otis Redding’s original version in 1965. Their versions are completely different, however. Franklin’s version is a declaration from a strong, confident woman, who knows that she has everything her man wants, while Redding’s version is a plea from a desperate man, who will give his woman anything she wants. Franklin’s cover was a landmark for the feminist movement.

9. The Twist – Chubby Checker


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The 1960 hit single is a cover version of 1959 original by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. Chubby Checker’s version gave birth to the twist dance craze. In 1988, “The Twist” became popular again due to a new recording of the song by The Fat Boys featuring Chubby Checker.

8. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin


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The classic rock song was released in 1971. The song was written in 1970 when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were spending time at Bron-Yr-Aur, a remote cottage in Wales. Apparently, the idea for “Stairway” came together from bits of taped music.

7. Candle in the Wind – Elton John


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Elton John’s 1973 famous song was written in honor of Marilyn Monroe who had died 11 years earlier. And the lyrics are a portrayal of her life. In 1997, John performed a rewritten version of the song as a tribute to Diana the Princess of Wales after she was tragically killed.

6. Hey Jude – The Beatles


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The Beatles released the “Hey Jude” in 1968. The song actually evolved from “Hey Jules”, which McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon’s son, Julian, during his parents’ divorce. After visiting Cynthia Lennon and Julian, McCartney composed the song in the car on the way home. More than seven minutes in length, it was the longest single ever to top the British charts, at the time.

5. Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan


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Dylan’s classic was released in 1965. “Like a Rolling Stone” was said to complete the transformation of Dylan’s image from folk singer to rock star. The song is considered one of the most influential compositions in postwar popular music. The song was written after returning from the tour of England documented in the film Don’t Look Back, Dylan was unhappy with the public’s expectations of him and even considered quitting the business. But then he wrote this song and it turned everything around for him.

4. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones


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The hit single was released in 1965. The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Apparently, Richards heard the notes in a dream, as a dead-asleep epiphany in a Florida hotel. Whether or not that’s true, we can only say well done, guys. Well done.

3. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen


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The infamous song “Bohemian Rhapsody” is rated #2. After its release in 1975, it received notorious fame. It has countless covers as well as appearing in hot comedy movies. The mysterious lyrics will forever be debated and never confirmed. If you want to know everything there is to know about the timeless classic, check out our article: Bohemian Rhapsody: The History and Mystery of One of the Best Songs Ever Made.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was on 4 out of the 6 rating lists. Rest in peace, Freddie Mercury.

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana


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“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was released in 1991 and was Nirvana’s biggest hit ever. Kurt Cobain admired the band The Pixies and wanted to create a song in their style. He said, “I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it.”

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was on 4 out of the 6 rating lists. Rest in peace, Kurt Cobain.

1. Imagine – John Lennon


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And the winner is….John Lennon with “Imagine”. The song was released in 1971. Shortly before his death in 1980, Lennon said that much of the song’s lyrics and content came from his wife Yoko Ono, and in 2017, she ended up receiving a co-writing credit for the song.

Lennon composed “Imagine” one morning in early 1971. His lyrics were a message, asking us to imagine a place where things that divide people (religion, possessions) did not exist. He felt the world would be a much better place.

“Imagine” was on 5 out of the 6 rating lists. Rest in peace, John Lennon.

So there we go, friends. We’ve gone over the top 50 of the best songs ever created! But maybe you’re still in the mood for more hit single fun. We decided to add the next songs on the list. That’s right, here are the next best 30 songs. Enjoy!

51. I Want to Hold Your Hand – The Beatles

The song came out in 1963 and it was the first Beatles song to catch on in America. In 1963, the band were the biggest stars in England, but couldn’t break through in America. By February 1964, America finally took notice.


Photo by David Redfern/Redferns

The hit sold better in the US in the first 10 days of release than any other British single. It’s still the best-selling Beatles single in the United States, having sold over 12 million copies.

52. Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley

The song was released in 1956. It was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton and apparently, the inspiration came from a newspaper article about the suicide of a lonely man who jumped from a hotel window.


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The legendary song has been covered by many artists, including Paul McCartney, Cher, Justin Timberlake, Bob Dylan, and many many more.

Next: another Beatles song. Try to guess which one.

53. A Day in the Life – The Beatles

The song came out in 1967. It was written by John Lennon and his lyrics were inspired by contemporary newspaper articles, including the death of Guinness heir Tara Browne.


Photo by Fiona Adams/Redferns

In 1992, Lennon’s handwritten lyrics were sold in an auction in London for $100,000. The lyrics were then sold again in 2006 in New York. Offers started at $2 million. In the end, an anonymous American buyer paid $1,200,000 for the clearly valuable lyrics.

54. She Loves You – The Beatles

“She Loves You” is another Beatles song released in 1963. McCartney and Lennon wrote the song. They were inspired after a concert at the Majestic Ballroom in Newcastle. McCartney said, “We were in a van up in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.


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I’d planned an answering song where a couple of us would sing ‘She loves you’ and the other ones would answer ‘Yeah Yeah.’ We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called She Loves You. So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it; John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars.”

The next song is by a former sing duo that split up.

55. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel released the song in 1970. Paul Simon wrote the song, but Art Garfunkel performed it. Simon said, “I have no idea where it came from. It came all of the sudden. It was one of the most shocking moments in my songwriting career. I remember thinking, ‘This is considerably better than I usually write.


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” Although he wrote it, Garfunkel sang the song alone. He even thought Simon should have sung it. Simon said that “Many times I’m sorry I didn’t do it.” At his solo shows, and at his 2018 farewell tour, he introduced the song by saying, “I’m going to reclaim my lost child.”

56. Dancing Queen – Abba

Abba’s hit single “Dancing Queen” was released in 1976 and it considered to be the world’s first Europop disco hit. While recording, its working title was “Boogaloo.” The song was the only one of ABBA’s 14 US Top 40 hits to make it to number 1.


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The group recorded this a year before it was released and was written and recorded around the same time as “Fernando,” their other big hit single. But they knew “Dancing Queen” would also be a hit, so they held it until the album was released before making it a single.

Next up: Bob Marley. Do you know which song?

57. No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley & The Wailers

This all-time favorite reggae classic came out in 1975. Marley wrote the song but gave a composer credit to Vincent “Tartar” Ford who was one of his friends from Jamaica who helped him out when he was poor and ran a soup kitchen in Kingston.


Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns/Getty Images

The original line “No, Woman, Nuh cry” – Nuh is Jamaican for “don’t.” So the lyrics really mean No, Woman, Don’t cry. He’s leaving and reassuring the girl that the slum they live in won’t get her down, that everything will be alright and “don’t shed no tear.”

58. Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones

The 1969 song was written during the Vietnam War, mostly by Keith Richards. Mick Jagger said, “It’s very much about the awareness that war is always present; it was very present in life at that point. Mary Clayton who did the backing vocals was a background singer who was known to one of the producers. Suddenly, we wanted someone to sing in the middle of the night.


Photo by Len Trievnor/Express/Getty Image

And she was around. She came with her curlers in, straight from bed, and had to sing this really odd lyric. For her it was a little odd – for anyone, in the middle of the night, to sing this one verse I would have been odd. She was great.”

The next hit single is by the Beach Boys. Try to guess which one.

59. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys

The song came out in 1966 and was written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, who was an advertising copyrighter and lyricist. The song reflects Wilson’s interest in spirituality. It was drastically different from all the previous Beach Boys songs about girls, cars, and surfing.


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Wilson explained: “Tony Asher and I tried to write something very spiritual. Tony came up with the title ‘God Only Knows.’ I was scared they’d ban playing it on the radio because of the title but they didn’t.”

60. Losing My Religion – R.E.M.

R.E.M.’s major hit was released in 1991. If you ever wondered what he meant by the title, it’s a Southern expression meaning “At my wit’s end.” Things are going so bad you could lose your faith in God.


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And if you “Lose your religion” over a person, it means losing faith in that person. Michael Stipe said, “I wanted to write a classic obsession song. So I did.” He has also referred to the song as being about “unrequited love.”

The next song is about British rebellion. Can you guess the band?

61. God Save The Queen – Sex Pistols

The song was released in 1976 and was the band’s rebellion against British politics at the time. “It was expressing my point of view on the Monarchy in general and on anybody that begs your obligation with no thought,” said the lead singer John Lydon. “That’s unacceptable to me.


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You have to earn the right to call on my friendship and my loyalty.” The original title was called “No Future,” but the band played it live and recorded a demo version with that title and changed it when Lydon got the idea to mock the British monarchy.

62. Shape of you – Ed Sheeran

The song came out in 2017 and was originally written at a writing camp with the singer Rihanna in mind. But Sheeran and the other songwriters included a reference to an Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and so they decided that Rihanna wasn’t suited.


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Sheeran said, “I started writing lyrics like ‘putting Van the Man on the jukebox’ and thought ‘she’s not really going to sing that.’ We decided halfway through that this would work for me.” So Sheeran ended up singing the song.

The next hit single is from the year 2011. And it has the word “Somebody” in the title.

63. Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye Feat. Kimbra

Gotye’s Wally De Backer was born in Belgium but lives in Australia. The song features New Zealand singer-songwriter, Kimbra. Gotye didn’t intend to write this song as a duet, but after he finished the first verse, he realized that he needed to introduce another voice.


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The song was both produced and written by Gotye in his parents’ barn near Melbourne, Australia. It’s about the aftermath and memory of several relationships.

64. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – The Righteous Brothers

The song came out in 1964 and was produced by Phil Spector. Their recording is considered to be the ultimate expression and illustration of Spector’s “Wall of Sound” recording technique. It’s also been referred to as “one of the best records ever made” and “the ultimate pop record”.


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Apparently, the song was played on American radio and television more times than any other song in the 20th century. It was played more than 8 million times from the time it was released until 2000.

Our next song in line is by Martha and the Vandellas. Do you know the tune?

65. Dancing in the Street – Martha and The Vandellas

The song was out in 1964 and was written by Motown songwriters Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter, and William “Mickey” Stevenson. It turned into the biggest hit and trademark song for Martha & the Vandellas. Mickey Stevenson said that the idea for dancing came to him while riding with Marvin Gaye through Detroit.


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During the summer, the city would open up fire hydrants to let water out in the streets so people could play and cool off.

66. River Deep—Mountain High – Ike & Tina Turner

The 1966 hit single was written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector. It was written specifically with Tina Turner in mind. Phil Spector made very intense recordings that needed strong vocalists to cut through, and so he knew Turner and her fiery voice would do the trick.


Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns. Getty Images

Although the song is credited to both Ike and Tina Turner, Ike wasn’t involved in the recording process. Phil Spector wanted his own people to record the song, and so he made sure Ike was not around during recording sessions.

We can’t have a best songs list without Prince. Do you which song is next?

67. When Doves Cry – Prince

Prince’s 1984 hit single was not only written and composed by him, he also played all the instruments on the song. Prince wrote the song for his movie Purple Rain. The film is semi-autobiographical, and how much is based on his real life is a mystery. Prince rarely gave interviews or talked about his personal life.


Photo by Virginia Turbett/Redferns/Getty Images

The bombardment of keyboards in the chorus is supposed to represent doves crying.

68. One Sweet Day – Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men

This classic ballad came out in 1995. Mariah Carey wrote the song with Boyz II Men. She said that she wrote a song that was too similar to a song Boyz II Men had written and so they decided to combine the two.


Photo by Bob King/Redferns/Getty Images

It was originally inspired by the death of David Cole, the co-writer and co-producer of C+C Music Factory. Mariah wanted to write a song to let everyone know the pain she was feeling a result of his death.

The next song on the list is a cover version of a song that was made for the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral.

69. Love is All Around – Wet Wet Wet

The song was originally recorded by English rock band the Troggs and it’s been covered by many artists, including R.E.M.


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Wet Wet Wet’s cover was done for the soundtrack to the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral starring Hugh Grant. It turned out to be an international hit and spent 15 consecutive weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart.

70. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2

U2’s 1987 major hit single was “an anthem of doubt more than faith,” according to Bono. The Edge spoke about the making of the song: “We were listening to some Gospel during The Joshua Tree sessions – I remember The Mighty Clouds and the Reverend Cleveland and The Staple Singers.


Photo by Lex van Rossen/MAI/Redferns

The original was more loose, almost Jamaican. Bono hit on the melody and I had the title in a notebook. At first, no one took it that seriously because it sounded so unlike anything we’d ever done and it didn’t gel until the mix, but when it was finished we all realized that we had something special.”

The next song could be referred to as Olivia Newton-John’s one hit wonder.

71. Physical – Olivia Newton-John

Olivia’s popular came out in 1981. And her real-life image was a lot more modest than what shows in the song. She was actually concerned about how she would be perceived by the public. Her managers had to talk her into recording it since they knew they had a huge hit in the works.


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The song was originally titled “Let’s Get Physical.” Instead of writing about the emotions of love, the writers wanted to write something about the physical side, which many listeners found refreshing for a pop song.

72. Mary’s Boy Child – Boney M

The song is a 1978 Christmas single which was a cover of Harry Belafonte’s original. The song is an airplay favorite in the US during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season. The track was chosen with the goal of launching Boney M. in the US, which was the only territory the group had yet to conquer.


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The group did a promotional tour in 1979 and also lip-synced the track on major TV shows like Soul Train.

Remember Wham!? Their song is next. Do you have an idea as to which hit?

73. Last Christmas – Wham!

Wham!’s hit single came out in 1984. It was written and produced by George Michael and has little to do with Christmas. It’s actually about a failed relationship. Despite this, it became an annual Christmas standard, especially in the UK. The hit was released as a charity record with its earnings going to famine relief in Ethiopia.


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A bunch of artists have covered this song including, Coldplay, Kim Wilde, Jimmy Eat World, The xx, Kylie Minogue, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Taylor Swift.

74. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder

Another song from 1984 that hit big was Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Wonder remarked that he wrote the music for this song in 1976 but “modernized” it when he added lyrics for the soundtrack to the movie The Woman In Red. Amazingly, the blind singer played every instrument on the track, produced it, and did all the vocals.


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Apparently, he didn’t have a specific person in mind when writing the song – it was more of a universal feeling.

The next song is a cover that brought Simon Cowell into a hugely successful career in music.

75. Unchained Melody – Robson Green & Jerome Flynn

“Unchained Melody” is a 1955 song by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret and was most notably done by the Righteous Brothers. But Robson & Jerome’s version is considered the best-selling single of 1995 in the UK.


Photo by Rod Johnson/Getty Images

It launched the singing career of Robson & Jerome and turned into the biggest hit in the UK for Simon Cowell who was about to mark the beginning of a successful figure in the music industry.

76. (Everything I do) I do it for You – Bryan Adams

Bryan Adam’s wildly popular hit was released in 1991. It was featured in the movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, where it played over the credits. Initially, the song didn’t have Hollywood’s approval, as the film company wanted the song sound like it came from the films’ era – with flutes, mandolins, and such.


Photo by Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

The film company gave in, however. It became one of the most successful singles of all time. It sold over 3 million copies and was #1 for 16 weeks in the UK and 7 weeks in the US.

Cher is next. What do you think her biggest tune was?

77. Believe – Cher

Cher’s big hit from 1998 took about six years to make. It took a lot of effort for six songwriters and at least three producers to try and create a massive hit for Cher. The breakthrough in the production of the song was when they reached the distinctive vocal effect, which they claimed was done using a Vocoder.


Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

It was later revealed that they used an Auto-Tune processor, which is a tool created by Antares Audio Technologies to correct the pitch in vocals.

78. Anything is Possible – Will Young

The song was written for Will Young who was the winner of the first series of Pop Idol in the UK. After winning, Will Young released the song as his debut single.


Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

It reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and was certified 3x Platinum. It ended up becoming the 14th best-selling single of all time in the UK, as well as the second best-selling UK single of the 21st century.

79. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot

Everyone remembers this hugely popular song. It came out in 1992 and rumor has it that Mix-a-Lot got the idea for the song when he was watching the Super Bowl on TV. He saw a Budweiser beer commercial with models who were way too skinny for his taste. So he was inspired to make a song and this video.


Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage/Getty Images

The video was directed by Adam Bernstein who said that casting the video was one of the strangest experiences of his professional life. They had to find girls with big butts, so he and his crew took photos of the applicants’ “shapes”, which they sent to Sir Mix-A-Lot for evaluation.

80. Lose Yourself – Eminem

Eminem’s 2002 hit was featured in Eminem’s first movie 8 Mile. The movie is loosely based on Eminem’s life. The movie got very good reviews as Eminem turned out to be a surprisingly good actor.


Source: Photo by Universal/Getty Images

When the movie released the first trailers, this song did not exist, so they used “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” which the studio wanted to feature in the movie. Eminem thought that song was too personal for the movie, which was one reason he was so determined to write something that fit the character.

Here is the list of the songs on YouTube. Enjoy.

Our methodology:

The list was compiled from the following: Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Top Tens, Top 40 Weekly, the Top 50 Most Iconic Songs, and UK Official Charts.

We ranked the songs by using two parameters: the song’s position on the chart it was placed in as well as the number appearances on all the six lists.