Friday, July 15, 2016

The 100 Greatest Songs of the Modern Era: The Top-20

By Andy Dougherty (@AndyDougherty10)

Ed. Note- We continue our look at the 100 Greatest Songs of the Modern Era with the final installment of our five-part series.

For Part One and Andy's methodology, click here.

For Part Two, click here.

For Part Three, click here.

For Part Four, click here.

20. London Calling by The Clash, 1979

“Without warning, the drums and guitars hit in unison, opening the song and the album with a heavy hammering groove. It’s like an inverted reggae song -- downbeat chords instead of upstrokes -- though Simonon’s spare bass boom gives it a slight dub feel. From there, it’s all Armageddon prophesying and unwillingness to lay down and die,” said Billboard. Pitchfork described the song as “the record’s cosmic lynchpin: Horrifyingly apocalyptic, ‘London Calling’ is riddled with weird werewolf howls and big, prophetic hollers, Mick Jones’ punchy guitar bursts tapping little nails into our skulls, pushing hard for total lunacy. Empowered and unafraid, [Joe] Strummer reveals self-skewering prophecies, panting hard about nuclear errors and impending ice ages.

He also spitefully lodges some of the most unpleasantly convincing calls to arms ever committed to tape.” PopMatters said, “No time before or since has Joe Strummer been more pointed lyrically, or more vocally persuasive, more rebellious in his individualism, howling as it were because he really meant it; a sincerity that makes his shout, “forget it brother, and go it alone," sound like the easiest solution to being let down and left out by the masses…topping it would be impossible.”

19. Hotel California by Eagles, 1976

‘Hotel California’ was “a symbolic piece about America in general,” according to Eagles singer Don Henley, who also called it “a journey from innocence to experience” and “a sociopolitical statement…It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about…Lyrically, the song deals with traditional or classical themes of conflict: darkness and light, good and evil, youth and age, the spiritual versus the secular. I guess you could say it's a song about loss of innocence.”

Glenn Frey, the Eagles’ other primary singer, felt that the band “achieved complete ambiguity” with the song’s lyrics, which they modeled after Steely Dan’s style. The song’s closing guitar solo is often ranked among the best ever, which helped cement the song as a classic rock staple. The song became so symbolic of American culture that “when a US spy plane made an emergency landing in China in 2001, the crew members were asked to recite the lyrics to prove their nationality,” BBC recounted.

18. Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, 1958

“By 1958, Berry was rock & roll's most consistent hitmaker after Elvis Presley,” said Rolling Stone. “Unlike Presley, Berry wrote his own classics. ‘I just wish I could express my feelings the way Chuck Berry does,’ Presley once confessed.” ‘Johnny B. Goode’ was Chuck Berry at his most expressive, telling the autobiographical tale of his rags-to-riches rise to superstardom. Singing and strumming at breakneck speed, Berry produced the most memorable song of the 1950s.

“‘DeepdowninLouisiana’crossfromNewOrleans,waybackupinthewoodsamongtheevergreens.’ Rattled off in just six seconds, it’s the most exciting way that Berry could have found to sing the song, and he slows down only long enough to set the scene. When he hits the chorus, the guitar returns, splitting each phrase, propelling Chuck Berry toward fame, ecstasy, any old place he chooses that’s gotta be better than here and now,” said critic Dave Marsh. He continued, “In the bridge, the riff – which by now seems to have its own life, separate from the guitar and whoever plays it – collaborates with Johnny Johnson’s chugging piano to form the kind of solo conceived by guys who had to think on their feet in barrooms night after night, already beat from their day jobs but hoping. It’s that hope that ‘Johnny B. Goode’ drives home just like a-ringin’ a bell.”

17. I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye, 1968

Songwriter Paul Williams said of ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine,’ “It’s hypnotic. The tambourine rattle at the beginning puts us under, and the soft-spoken, relentless rhythm track holds us in trance. The sinuous vocal completes the package…There’s a beautiful, unyielding tension in this recording.” Marvin Gaye did not write the song, but he wrapped himself up in that tension. “I believed every word of the song. The doubting, the friends whispering in my ear, the suspicions,” he said.

Dave Marsh was blown away by his vocal performance: “Gaye plays out the singing with his characteristic amalgam of power and elegance, sophistication and instinct: now hoarse, now soaring, sometimes spitting out imprecations with frightening clarity, sometimes almost chanting in pure street slang, sometimes pleading at the edge of incoherence, twisting, shortening, and elongating syllables to capture emotions words can’t define. And Gaye does this not just in a line or two or three but continuously. As a result, a record that’s of absolutely stereotypical length creates a world that seems to last forever.” And even without considering the vocal, Marsh argues that producer Norman Whitfield’s opening tambourine part makes it “a masterpiece before Gaye ever strangles a note.”

16. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, 1982

‘Billie Jean,’ the top-ranked song of the 1980s, went a long way in earning Michael Jackson his title as the King of Pop. “‘Billie Jean’ is hot on every level,” said keyboardist Greg Phillinganes. “It's hot sonically, because the instrumentation is so minimal, you can really hear everything. It's hot melodically, lyrically, vocally. It affects you physically, emotionally, even spiritually.”

Blender, upon naming it the best song of the last 25 years in 2005, said it was, “One of the most sonically eccentric, psychologically fraught, downright bizarre things ever to land on Top 40 radio…frighteningly stark, with a pulsing, cat-on-the-prowl bass figure, whip-crack downbeat and eerie multi-tracked vocals ricocheting in the vast spaces between keyboards and strings…a five-minute-long nervous breakdown, set to a beat.” Since it was lengthy for a pop song, Producer Quincy Jones said, “Michael, we’ve got to cut that [29-second] intro.” But Jackson said that was the part that made him want to dance, and Jones gave in. “When Michael Jackson tells you, ‘That’s what makes me want to dance,’ well, the rest of us just have to shut up.” It has been one of the world’s most beloved dance songs ever since.

15. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding, 1968

Otis Redding’s final recording session for ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’ came just days before his tragic death in a plane crash, and the song became the first posthumous No. 1 hit in United States history. Rolling Stone said, “It is possible to [think] that the tremendous emotional impact of this song — and that would be the indication of its soul — is in part due to his death, but the song itself, a distillation of all that's best in soul ballads, stands as one of Otis' very best recordings.’” From the first gentle strum of the guitar to the creative whistling that concludes the song, Redding paints as serene a picture as any pop song ever has. Sometimes in music, less is more; one would be hard-pressed to find a better example of exquisite simplicity than ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.’

14. God Only Knows by The Beach Boys, 1966

Few, if any, pop songs have been as inspirational to fellow pop stars as ‘God Only Knows.’ Bono said, “The string arrangement on 'God Only Knows' is fact and proof of angels.” Paul McCartney called it his favorite song. “It's very deep. Very emotional, always a bit of a choker for me, that one," he said. Jimmy Webb, a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, said, “I love 'God Only Knows' and its bow to the baroque that goes all the way back to 1740 and Johann Sebastian Bach. It represents the whole tradition of liturgical music that I feel is a spiritual part of Brian's music. And Carl’s singing is pretty much at its pinnacle—as good as it ever got.”

Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne said, “It's impossible to exaggerate how beautiful this song is. Everywhere, it takes risks.” Even the song’s title was a risk. Beach Boys lyricist Tony Asher said, “Unless you were Kate Smith and you were singing 'God Bless America', no one [in 1966] thought you could say 'God' in a song.” Asher explained what made ‘God Only Knows’ so special. “This is the one that I thought would be a hit record because it was so incredibly beautiful. I was concerned that maybe the lyrics weren't up to the same level as the music; how many love songs start off with the line, "I may not always love you?" I liked that twist, and fought to start the song that way...’God Only Knows’ is, to me, one of the great songs of our time. I mean the great songs. Not because I wrote the lyrics, but because it is an amazing piece of music that we were able to write a very compelling lyric to. It's the simplicity—the inference that "I am who I am because of you"—that makes it very personal and tender.”

13. A Day in the Life by The Beatles, 1967

Rolling Stone said, “With Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles created an album of psychedelic visions; coming at the end, ‘A Day in the Life’ sounds like the whole world falling apart. Lennon sings about death and dread in his most spectral vocal, treated with what he called his ‘Elvis echo’ — a voice, as producer George Martin said in 1992, ‘which sends shivers down the spine.’…The song was far too intense musically and emotionally for regular radio play. It wasn't really until the Eighties, after Lennon's murder, that "A Day in the Life" became recognized as the band's masterwork. In this song, as in so many other ways, the Beatles were way ahead of everyone else.”

Author John Covach called it “one of the most important single tracks in the history of rock music; clocking in at only four minutes and forty-five seconds, it must surely be among the shortest epic pieces in rock.” For the song’s climax, The Beatles brought in 40 musicians with various instruments and instructed them to play from the lowest note to the highest. Two weeks later, they gathered numerous pianos and turned the levels up so high Ringo’s shoe could be heard squeaking. Each band member hammered out an E-major chord, which resonated for 40 seconds, closing one of rock’s most influential albums with one of its most memorable moments.

12. Yesterday by The Beatles, 1965

‘Yesterday’ holds a Guinness World Record as the most recorded song of all time, with over 2,500 known versions. Paul McCartney called it “the most complete song I have ever written.” Featuring a string quartet, “the recording captures the Beatles' inventive spirit, opening the door to a willingness to experiment with new sounds. ‘Yesterday’ signaled to the world that the Beatles — and rock & roll — had made a sudden leap from brash adolescence to literate maturity,” said Rolling Stone, which called the song “a frank poem of regret scored and sung with haunted elegance. There are no other Beatles on the record. None were needed...McCartney's almost whispered vocal reverberated with longing in the big, dark spaces where drums and electric guitars would have been.”

11. What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye, 1971

Author Ben Edmonds called ‘What’s Going On’ the “most avant-garde hit Motown ever had” in his book about the album of the same name. Motown founder Berry Gordy vehemently opposed the song, which was much more politically charged and musically eccentric than conventional Motown records. But Gaye had grown tired of conforming to Gordy’s style, and he refused to record anything else until ‘What’s Going On’ was finally released as a single.

It reached No. 2 on the charts and served as a preview for what many considered the greatest album in soul music history. Richard Buskin of Sound on Sound said it was “a protest song like no other that had come before; a number that, rather than ask "what's going on,” answered this by reporting on America's struggles and Marvin Gaye's personal strife without bitterness or anger. In a relaxed, laid‑back manner that exuded empathy and understanding, Gaye addressed a "father, father” in reference to his troubled relationships both with God and the patriarch who would eventually kill him, and reached out to the "brother, brother, brother” as an appeal to not only his Vietnam vet sibling Frankie, but all of humankind.”

10. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, 1975

Bruce Springsteen put everything he had into this record as his desperate, final chance to break through and achieve his dreams. His genuine energy pervades the song, one of the richest, most powerful and enduring rock anthems in history. He added over a dozen guitar tracks, numerous keyboards, glockenspiel and strings to succeed in emulating Phil Spector’s renowned “wall of sound.” Critic Robert Christgau said it was “the fulfillment of everything ‘Be My Baby’ was about and lots more.” Springsteen said of ‘Born to Run,’ “I had enormous ambitions for it. I wanted to make the greatest rock record I'd ever heard.” As lofty as his goals were, he just about accomplished them, transforming a fledgling career into one of the most legendary in American music history.

9. Respect by Aretha Franklin, 1967

Originally written and performed by Otis Redding, ‘Respect’ is the most critically acclaimed cover of all time. Franklin turned Redding’s lyrics around, added the iconic “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” breakdown, and sang with tremendous conviction to convert ‘Respect’ into the ultimate feminist anthem. “The fervor in Aretha's voice demanded that respect,” said producer Jerry Wexler, who also called the song “an appeal for dignity.” Rolling Stone added, “‘Respect’ was her first Number One hit and the single that established her as the Queen of Soul…She sang from higher ground: a woman calling an end to the exhaustion and sacrifice of a raw deal with scorching sexual authority. In short, if you want some, you will earn it.”

8. Hey Jude by The Beatles, 1968

Producer George Martin thought ‘Hey Jude,’ which ran for over 7 minutes, was too long for radio stations to play. But John Lennon quipped, “They will if it’s us.” They did, and The Beatles’ lengthiest single became their most successful in the United States, topping the charts for nine weeks. One of Paul McCartney’s finest efforts both compositionally and vocally, ‘Hey Jude’ “becomes a tour of Paul's vocal range: from the graceful inviting tones of the opening verse, through the mounting excitement of the song itself, to the surging raves of the coda.” TIME called the coda “a fadeout that engagingly spoofs the fadeout as a gimmick for ending pop records.”

Richie Unterberger explained part of the reason behind its effectiveness: “What could have very easily been boring is instead hypnotic because McCartney varies the vocal with some of the greatest nonsense scatting ever heard in rock.” Musicologist Alan Pollack said the song was "such a good illustration of two compositional lessons – how to fill a large canvas with simple means, and how to use diverse elements such as harmony, bassline, and orchestration to articulate form and contrast.” He added that the coda provides “an astonishingly transcendental effect.” After hearing McCartney perform it in London in front of 80,000 frenzied fans, I agree.

7. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, 1975

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is one of the most grandiose, epic, flamboyant, ambitious pop songs the world will ever see, and at the time of its release, it was the most expensive single in history. Tom Service of The Guardian explains its brilliant inventiveness: “The song manages a sleight of musical hand that only a handful of real master-musicians have managed: the illusion that its huge variety of styles – from intro, to ballad, to operatic excess, to hard-rock, to reflective coda - are unified into a single statement, a drama that somehow makes sense. It's a classic example of the unity in diversity that high-minded musical commentators have heard in the symphonies of Beethoven or the operas of Mozart. And that's exactly what the piece is: a miniature operatic-rhapsodic-symphonic-tone-poem.”

Jay Z echoed Service’s sentiments: “A great song has all the key elements — melody; emotion; a strong statement that becomes part of the lexicon; and great production. Think of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ by Queen. That song had everything — different melodies, opera, R&B, rock — and it explored all of those different genres in an authentic way, where it felt natural.” Music writers Pete Brown and Harvey P. Newquist said, “for sheer cleverness alone, not to mention [guitarist Brian] May's riveting electric work, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' rightfully became one of the top singles of 1975 and established Queen in the elite of seventies rock bands.”

6. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, 1971

Not to be outdone in the realm of epic, grandiose ‘70s rock songs, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ edges ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ as the best of its kind. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page said the song “crystallized the essence of the band. It had everything there and showed the band at its best. It was a milestone. Every musician wants to do something of lasting quality, something which will hold up for a long time. We did it with ‘Stairway’…I have to do a lot of hard work before I can get anywhere near those stages of consistent, total brilliance.”

Rolling Stone argued, “All epic anthems must measure themselves against ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ the cornerstone of Led Zeppelin IV. The acoustic intro sounds positively Elizabethan, thanks to John Paul Jones' recorder solo and Plant's fanciful lyrics… Over eight minutes, the song morphs into a furious Page solo that storms heaven's gate.” Guitar World ranked the solo first in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos in Rock and Roll History. Proud of the song, Page said, “People come to me with all manner of stories about, you know, what it meant to them at certain points of their lives. About how it's got them through some really tragic circumstances...Because it's an extremely positive song, it's such a positive energy.”

5. Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys, 1966

The Beach Boys utilized an eclectic array of instruments, including a jaw harp, electro-theremin, cello, string bass and bowed tremolo, to create what band publicist Derek Taylor titled a “pocket symphony.” Author Domenic Priore remarked, “This was a period when pop records were either guitar, bass and drum combos or traditional orchestrated arrangements for vocalists…The exotic instruments, the complex vocal arrangements, and the many dynamic crescendos and decrescendos all combine to set this record apart from most pop music. In short, if there's an instruction manual for writing and arranging pop songs, this one breaks every rule."

In 1968, critic Gene Sculatti of Jazz & Pop said, “‘Good Vibrations’ may yet prove to be the most significantly revolutionary piece of the current rock renaissance; executed as it is in conventional Beach Boys manner, it is one of the few organically complete rock works; every audible note and every silence contributes to the whole three minutes, 35 seconds, of the song. It is the ultimate in-studio production trip, very much rock 'n' roll in the emotional sense and yet un-rocklike in its spatial, dimensional conceptions. In no minor way, ‘Good Vibrations’ is a primary influential piece for all producing rock artists; everyone has felt its import to some degree.” Brian Wilson turned the recording studio into its own instrument as no one had previously done. He considered the song his “whole life performance in one track.”

4. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, 1965

“It was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band,” said Mick Jagger. “It has a very catchy title. It has a very catchy guitar riff. It has a great guitar sound, which was original at that time. And it captures a spirit of the times, which is very important in those kinds of songs...which was alienation.” Rolling Stone noted that the song was “one of the earliest examples of Dylan influencing the Stones and the Beatles — the degree of cynicism, and the idea of bringing more personal lyrics from the folk and blues tradition into popular music.”

Newsweek referred to the song’s opening guitar riff as “five notes that shook the world.” It remains one of the most instantly recognizable riffs in rock & roll history and it evokes one’s feelings for the song as a whole. Critic Paul Gambaccini explains why that helped it shake the world, saying, “The lyrics to this were truly threatening to an older audience. This song was perceived as an attack on the status quo.” PopMatters said, “The song ushered in the era of rock music as the truly democratic experience it was always purported to be. Its feeling was already ubiquitous—its sound would soon be.”

3. Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan, 1965

Bob Dylan’s lengthy, brooding, and resentful masterpiece defied every rule of pop music. “The most stunning thing about ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ is how unprecedented it was: the impressionist voltage of Dylan's language, the intensely personal accusation in his voice ("Ho-o-o-ow does it fe-e-e-el?"), the apocalyptic charge of [Al] Kooper's garage-gospel organ and Mike Bloomfield's stiletto-sharp spirals of Telecaster guitar, the defiant six-minute length of the June 16th master take. No other pop song has so thoroughly challenged and transformed the commercial laws and artistic conventions of its time, for all time,” Rolling Stone said upon ranking the song as the greatest of all time.

Said Elvis Costello, “What a shocking thing to live in a world where there was Manfred Mann and the Supremes and Engelbert Humperdinck and here comes 'Like a Rolling Stone.'” Bruce Springsteen elaborated on the song’s power: “On came that snare shot that sounded like somebody'd kicked open the door to your mind...The way that Elvis freed your body, Dylan freed your mind, and showed us that because the music was physical did not mean it was anti-intellect. He had the vision and talent to make a pop song so that it contained the whole world. He invented a new way a pop singer could sound, broke through the limitations of what a recording could achieve, and he changed the face of rock'n'roll for ever and ever.”

2. Imagine by John Lennon, 1971

Rolling Stone considered ‘Imagine’ John Lennon’s “greatest musical gift to the world,” calling it “an enduring hymn of solace and promise that has carried us through extreme grief…It is now impossible to imagine a world without 'Imagine,' and we need it more than he ever dreamed.” Katy Weldman of Slate explained this purpose the song appropriates. ‘Imagine’ “captures the fragility of our hope after a violent or destructive event,” she said. “It also reveals its tenacity.”

But beneath its hopeful, heartening messages, ‘Imagine’ is “the most subversive pop song recorded to achieve classic status," according to authors Ben Urish and Ken Bielen. Lennon depicts an idyllic world, but also one that calls for impossibly drastic societal overhauls. However, people like to dream, and Lennon’s uplifting words have helped millions to cope with the harsh realities of this world and envision a brighter future. Rolling Stone also praised the song’s musical qualities, with special attention to “the serene melody; the pillowy chord progression; that beckoning four-note [piano] figure.” These facets combine to form a beautiful and wonderfully moving song, which ranks atop more all-time lists (7) than any other.

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, 1991

“A shock wave of big-amp purity, ‘Teen Spirit’ wiped the lingering jive of the Eighties off the pop map overnight,” said Rolling Stone. In an instant, the tacky hair bands and synths that characterized ‘80s music seemed irrelevant. They would be swiftly overshadowed in the mainstream by grunge and alternative rock. “The song was a call to consciousness,” said Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. Spin Magazine called ‘Teen Spirit’ the “most iconic song of all time,” and Goldsmith’s College conducted a study that validated Spin’s statement with its findings. While ‘Imagine’ tops more lists, no song features more often than ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ Overwhelmingly regarded as the anthem of the ‘90s and Generation X, it appears on 84% of eligible lists, places in the top ten on nearly half, and makes the top five 30% of the time. For a field as subjective as music, that is a striking consensus.

Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain styled the song after the Pixies: “We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.” He drew inspiration from John Lennon to write the song’s hooks, and he composed one of the most memorable lines in music history with “Here we are now, entertain us.” Stephen Thompson of NPR described the power the song had when he first heard it: “When I put it on, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was like an out-of-body experience; the epiphany was in full swing by the end of the first chorus. This was instantly one of the best rock songs I'd ever heard — one of the best pop songs, too…It's so easy to wrap ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ like a mummy in spools of nostalgia; to view it through the prism of Kurt Cobain's suicide, the endlessly replayed video, the second- and third- and tenth-generation imitators that sprang up, or the "Weird Al" Yankovic parody. For me, hundreds if not thousands of listens later, it still sends me hurtling to that first moment of blissed-out, mouth-agape discovery — looking back 20 years later, it was that exact thrill that fully kicked off my career. Discovering something new and strange and beautiful and utterly accessible, and yet still undiscovered by so many? It's like a drug, then and now and always.”

No song before or since has symbolized a generation the way ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ did for Generation X.

It took all week, but we've finally reached the end. Thanks for reading, and here is the list in its entirety below.

100. Live Forever by Oasis, 1994

99. Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers, 1965

98. Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin, 1969

97. Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1973

96. Tutti Frutti by Little Richard, 1955

95. Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland, 1939

94. Lose Yourself by Eminem, 2002

93. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, 1967

92. Let’s Stay Together by Al Green, 1971

91. Creep by Radiohead, 1992

90. Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor, 1990

89. Rolling in the Deep by Adele, 2010

88. Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen, 1975

87. Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969

86. God Save the Queen by Sex Pistols, 1977

85. All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem, 2007

84. Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley, 1957

83. Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd, 1979

82. Kashmir by Led Zeppelin, 1975

81. Dancing in the Street by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, 1964

80. A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum, 1967

79. River Deep, Mountain High by Ike & Tina Turner, 1966

78. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, 1975

77. California Dreamin’ by The Mamas & the Papas, 1965

76. Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley, 1969

75. The Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, 1965

74. Your Song by Elton John, 1970

73. With or Without You by U2, 1987

72. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, 2006

71. Dancing Queen by Abba, 1976

70. Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve, 1997

69. Hound Dog by Elvis Presley, 1956

68. Tangled Up in Blue by Bob Dylan, 1975

67. A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke, 1964

66. Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan, 1963

65. Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams) by Daft Punk, 2013

64. I Want You Back by The Jackson 5, 1969

63. The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, 1982

62. Wonderwall by Oasis, 1995

61. My Girl by The Temptations, 1964

60. Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets, 1954

59. Paper Planes by M.I.A., 2007

58. Anarchy in the U.K. by Sex Pistols, 1976

57. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley, 1994

56. That’ll Be the Day by Buddy Holly, 1957

55. Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes, 2003

54. Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks, 1967

53. You Really Got Me by The Kinks, 1964

52. Purple Haze by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967

51. The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals, 1964

50. No Woman, No Cry by Bob Marley & the Wailers, 1975

49. American Pie by Don McLean, 1971

48. Paranoid Android by Radiohead, 1997

47. Oh, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison, 1964

46. “Heroes” by David Bowie, 1977

45. Louie Louie by The Kingsmen, 1963

44. In My Life by The Beatles, 1965

43. When Doves Cry by Prince, 1984

42. What’d I Say by Ray Charles, 1959

41. Every Breath You Take by The Police, 1983

40. Stand by Me by Ben E. King, 1961

39. Light My Fire by The Doors, 1967

38. Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses, 1987

37. Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley, 1956

36. Hey Ya! by OutKast, 2003

35. Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones, 1969

34. One by U2, 1991

33. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ by The Righteous Brothers, 1964

32. Losing My Religion by R.E.M., 1991

31. I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles, 1963

30. Be My Baby by The Ronettes, 1963

29. Let It Be by The Beatles, 1970

28. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division, 1980

27. All Along the Watchtower by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1968

26. Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles, 1967

25. Layla by Derek and the Dominos, 1970

24. Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel, 1970

23. Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones, 1968

22. Superstition by Stevie Wonder, 1972

21. My Generation by The Who, 1965

20. London Calling by The Clash, 1979

19. Hotel California by Eagles, 1976

18. Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, 1958

17. I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye, 1968

16. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, 1982

15. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding, 1968

14. God Only Knows by The Beach Boys, 1966

13. A Day in the Life by The Beatles, 1967

12. Yesterday by The Beatles, 1965

11. What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye, 1971

10. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, 1975

9. Respect by Aretha Franklin, 1967

8. Hey Jude by The Beatles, 1968

7. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, 1975

6. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, 1971

5. Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys, 1966

4. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, 1965

3. Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan, 1965

2. Imagine by John Lennon, 1971

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, 1991

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